210,000 gallons of crude oil seeped out of the TransCanada-owned Keystone 1 pipeline this week – mere days before Nebraska’s Public Service Commission (PSC) is set to make a decision on whether or not to grant a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. The first Keystone pipeline runs from Canada through the Great Plains, and it leaked oil southeast of Amherst, South Dakota. According to The Washington Post, this spill is just the most recent in a series.
The first Keystone pipeline leaked in 2011 and 2016. This new spill was detected early in the morning, and happened in “either a grass or an agricultural field,” according to South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources environmental science manager Brian Walsh, and that, based on what they know, “the spill has not impacted a surface water body.”
— TransCanada (@TransCanada) November 16, 2017
TransCanada said the leak was completely isolated in 15 minutes. They said they got permission from the landowner to assess the spill and start planning for cleanup.
Next week on Monday, the PSC will decide whether or not to grant a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, also to be owned by TransCanada. Critics and activists say the company shouldn’t receive one, especially after the recent spill.
350.org executive director May Boeve said in a statement, “This is exactly the kind of disaster we can expect more of if Keystone XL is approved. No matter what TransCanada says, there’s no such thing as a safe fossil fuel pipeline.”
President Donald Trump gave TransCanada a federal permit in March, and other states have approved Keystone XL’s path. According to Reuters, PSC isn’t allowed to consider the potential of spills from Keystone XL as the venture has an environmental permit. Their decision will be on whether or not the pipeline’s route would be in the best interest of the state’s residents, but a rejection would be a setback for the controversial project.
Boeve said, “Indigenous peoples, farmers, and ranchers along Keystone XL’s proposed route have been holding the line against this project for years. Whatever Nebraska commissioners decide on Monday, we’ll be ready for the work ahead to stop this and all new fossil fuel projects that threaten our communities and climate.”